NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – As a freelance video producer, Laurie White’s opportunities to keep her golf game sharp revolve largely around her work schedule. Now a veteran of seven U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs, the Long Island native was able to take advantage of how things broke for her over the last few months.
The way it aligned this summer, I really wasn’t that busy, which was delightful, so I got a chance to play a little bit more golf, said White, who made her first start in the championship since 2011 this week. I really hadn’t played much competitively the last few years, and to get back into it really made me remember how much I enjoy it.
White has found enough time over the years to make her game competitive on a national stage. The same can be said for her work, which has drawn accolades at the highest levels of her profession. White, 51, has made a career of producing sports programming, running the gamut from golf to figure skating to slightly less mainstream events such as fencing and hot dog-eating contests. If you have watched the Olympics over the years, you have likely viewed her projects, which include features on competitors as well as opening teasers.
Along the way, White has earned six Sports Emmy Awards, most recently for NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Olympics in London. White produced features that Jimmy Roberts hosted between events, which led to White being part of a group that won the prestigious award for Outstanding Live Event Turnaround by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She also won for her efforts during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Overall, White has won four Emmys for Olympic coverage, and also earned the award for her TV work on the World Figure Skating Championships and ABC’s Wide World of Sports 40th Anniversary special.
Golf has been a big part of her career as well. She has worked on projects for the USGA, most recently producing content for the Curtis Cup Match and the U.S. Junior Amateur this summer, and also spent close to a decade working in a production role for the PGA Tour at their headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. While her work on British Open coverage has been nominated in the past, she’s still awaiting her first Emmy in her favorite sport. But she’s OK with that.
It’s all about the people. It doesn’t really matter which sport, said White, who fell short at Harbour Trees Golf Club in her attempt to reach match play for the first time in the Women’s Mid-Amateur. Obviously, I like golf, because the places you go and people you meet are always top-notch, but if I’m doing something interesting on a fence builder, it doesn’t really matter to me.
Now based in Carmel, N.Y., about 90 minutes north of Manhattan, White said her work with the PGA Tour was the catalyst that transformed her passion for the game. Having easy access to the practice facilities at TPC Sawgrass improved her game and grew her desire to compete. She started playing in Florida State Golf Association events and, in 1994, earned a spot in the Women’s Mid-Amateur for the first time.
It was really the ultimate stage that I could compete on, said White, who estimates that she has tried to qualify for the championship 15 to 20 times. I didn’t play college golf or anything like that. I knew this was something that once I could carve out some time, I could set my sights on. I’ve always loved it.
White understands her limitations, especially as a late bloomer – They have a lot of shots that I don’t have, and that’s OK, she says of many of her fellow competitors – but doesn’t plan to stop teeing it up on the national stage any time soon.
It’s something I love to do. This is the 20th anniversary of qualifying for my first Mid-Am, so this is a very special thing for me, White said. I’ve never made it to match play, but it’s still a blast, it really is. I don’t think people often have an appreciation for how neat it is to just be here.
Scott Lipsky is the manager of websites and digital platforms at the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.